GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina has accepted an invitation to play in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on Sunday, Dec. 23. The game, which will be televised by ESPN and has an 8:00 p.m. EST kickoff, will match the Pirates against a yet-to-be determined opponent from the Western Athletic Conference.
Tickets in the Pirates' section for the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl are available by calling the ECU Athletics Ticket Office at (800) DIAL-ECU or going online at www.ECUPirates.com. Pirate Club priority will apply for all tickets ordered by December 7. After that time, tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, Pirate fans unable to attend the game are asked to purchase tickets to be donated to local military bases on the island of Oahu. For more information or to donate, fans can to call the athletics ticket office or visit East Carolina's official athletics website.
“Every college student in the country would welcome the opportunity to spend some of their post-exam break in Hawaii, but the most important aspect of the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl game for this Pirate Football team is the challenge of preparing for a possible opponent who will be ranked among the top 25 teams in the country," East Carolina Director of Athletics Terry Holland said. "Two of our possible opponents have been competing for a BCS Bowl slot this season and one had a thrilling victory a year ago. To be honest, they are already at the point in their programs where we’d like to be, thus we feel this game will certainly measure our progress.”
The Pirates (7-5, 6-2 Conference USA) will be making their 14th overall bowl appearance in program history and fourth since 2000. After a four-year absence, ECU has earned back-to-back bowl invitations under the direction of third-year head coach Skip Holtz, which includes a 24-7 setback against Big East Conference member South Florida in the 2006 Papajohns.com Bowl.
East Carolina is 7-6 all-time in its bowl history and has split its last eight contests. Bowl wins during that span for the Pirates include a 35-13 win over Louisiana Tech in the 1978 Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La.), 37-34 victory over North Carolina State in the 1992 Peach Bowl (Atlanta, Ga.), a 19-13 decision against Stanford in the 1995 St. Jude Liberty Bowl (Memphis, Tenn.) and a 40-27 triumph over Texas Tech in the 2000 galleryfurniture.com Bowl (Houston, Texas).
"It's certainly an honor to have the opportunity to play in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl," ECU Head Coach Skip Holtz said. "This obviously will be a trip of a lifetime for many of us and a reward, especially for our seniors who have provided the program with leadership and stability during their career. I'm looking forward to seeing all of us experience a different culture, one which I'm confident will provide many wonderful memories. Yet, with that said, it will also put us in a position to reach one of our goals this season which is a bowl championship."
After a one-year hiatus, Conference USA returns to provide a team for the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl - a contest which has gained a quick reputation for offensive shootouts. UCF and UAB each made their first bowl appearances in school history in Hawaii as the Knights fell to Nevada 49-48 in 2005 and the Blazers dropped a 59-40 battle to the home-standing Warriors in 2004.
In 2003, Hawaii prevailed, 54-48, in triple-overtime over Houston after Tulane represented C-USA in the inaugural Hawai’i Bowl, upsetting the Warriors 36-28 at Aloha Stadium a year earlier.
"We are very pleased to have East Carolina University as the Conference USA representative in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl," Executive Director Jim Donovan. "Head coach Skip Holtz, his staff and the Pirates have done a fine job this year, and certainly have earned a week of fun and sun in Waikiki. Our bowl is quickly becoming known for its exciting brand of football and I fully expect ECU, with its wide-open offensive assault, will continue that tradition."